CHANGES AT ROCKETSPORTS PLACE CHAMP CAR VETERAN DOMINGUEZ IN A SEAT TO RUN FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON EAST LANSING, Michigan (September 18, 2006) -- The 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season has not ...
CHANGES AT ROCKETSPORTS PLACE CHAMP CAR VETERAN DOMINGUEZ IN A SEAT TO RUN FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON
EAST LANSING, Michigan (September 18, 2006) -- The 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season has not been a smooth ride for Rocketsports Racing as the team has been looking for some solid runs and consistency throughout the year, but things just might change for the fourth-year Champ Car team with the signing of Mario Dominguez for the final three races of the year.
The Mexican's season has been as bumpy as the team's in terms of consistency. He started the season driving the #7 car for Forsythe Championship Racing, but after four races, the driver and team parted ways. The Mexican veteran then moved to Dale Coyne Racing, where he piloted the #19 car for the next seven races, but when the opportunity came to move into the Rocketsports stable, Dominguez and the Michigan-based team both jumped at the opportunity.
"We are pleased to have Mario join us for the final three races of the season," said Rocketsports Racing team owner Paul Gentilozzi. "We had been working on having a chance to run him this season, but it came sooner than expected. We were in discussions with some potential sponsors in Mexico to run him in 2007, with the anticipation of putting him in one of our seats at the season finale in Mexico City in preparation for next season. However, with the early separation of him and Dale Coyne, that plan changed in the last few days. So it will be great to be able to run him for three races as we continue to build a relationship between him and Mexico that can carry onto 2007."
The Rocketsports team has been running two cars for a good majority of the season. Nicky Pastorelli has been piloting the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for most of the season, but will sit out during Round 12 at Road America due to contractual difficulties. It was confirmed that Tonis Kasemets would be making his return to the Champ Car paddock for the Road America event taking over the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, but the #8 car remained vacant. Meanwhile, the Mexico City promoters and Champ Car worked together to secure sponsorship from Mexico for Dominguez and ultimately seized the opportunity of the opening to run him with Rocketsports.
"Nicky will be taking a one-race break, with the hopes of us being able to run him in the final two races (Australia and Mexico City) this season," said Gentilozzi. "We will be taking this opportunity to run Tonis with the hopes of making him more competitive in a Champ Car on a racetrack that he knows very well and has been competitive on in the past driving other types of race cars. He has been doing a great job for us, and we hope that the results can continue to improve because we knew he is capable of it and that the opportunity is there."
This is an opportunity for Dominguez to secure a ride and continue his strong run this season with the anticipation of earning his fourth top-ten finish in the Champ Car championship standings. Dominguez will be reunited with his former engineer Brian Ma, whom he had worked with previously back when he was driving at HVM (now known as CTE Racing/HVM). Ma brought the team their second win when Dominguez won in Miami, leading the team's first-ever 1-2 finish in 2003. Ma's engineering skills crafted a Champ Car that recognized Dominguez as the Most Improved Driver of the year by his racing peers as he finished sixth in the championship standings.
"This is a sad and happy time for me," said Dominguez. "I am leaving Dale Coyne Racing, who gave me an opportunity when no one else did. Every member on the team was great. They were very hard working and I had a great time with them. We were able to enjoy some good times and good races together. I will forever be grateful to Dale, his wife, and everyone on the team for that opportunity.
At the same time, I am happy that CIE stepped up to the plate and three very important Mexican companies (PEMEX, GICSA, and Del Valle) to give me the opportunity to run with Paul Gentilozzi's team, Rocketsports Racing," continued Dominguez. "I am going to be reunited with my engineer, Brian Ma, from 2003. He and I had some great results together, so I am looking forward to working with him once again. I hope to do an excellent job for the Rocketsports team over the next three races with the hopes of finishing the season in the top four of the championship standings."
The addition of Dominguez should help the team and Kasemets, who will be making his fifth Champ Car start, in the next race in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. Kasemets, who earned his best result of finish eleventh in Edmonton, heads to Road America with not only his own experience from past runs in various racecars and a recent Champ Car test on the 4.048- mile permanent road course, but a teammate who has run there five times in a Champ Car. As Dominguez gets acquainted with the team, he and Kasemets can really work together to benefit both cars for the Rocketsports team to have a renewing weekend, with the hopes of more positive results to come for the team as the as the 2006 season comes to a close.